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Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2013 Feature and Photos

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2013

They said it was gonna be bigger and better. They said the entertainment was gonna be top notch. Man, did it rock. The guys at Steel Toe Press upped the ante this year at the 9th Annual Mods vs Rockers Chicago. Featuring the same great focus on vintage motorcycles and scooters, this was the first year at a new location that more comfortably and safely fit bikes, hot rods and vendors. More buzzworthy was the ability to offer an indoor and outdoor stage of killer bands at the historic Aragon Theater. If you missed it, check out this photo-feature to live vicariously through our lens…

MvR Chicago '13

MvR Chicago '13

Triumph Motorcycles recognizes the value of this continually growing event and its legit cool-factor by becoming presenting sponsor for 2013. It’s neat to see a solid gathering of old and new Triumphs turn up as well as garage-built variations and shop-builds (like the Dime City Cycles and Iron & Air giveaway bike below).

Dime City Cycles

MvR Chicago '13

While the heart of MvR is its homage to the angst-ridden British youth of yore, the event brings out the Americana-laced rockabilly and hot rod crowd, including the pin-up gals and swing dancin’ couples. The people-watching is just as good as the bike-ogling. Attendees and organizers alike know this isn’t purely a London Ace Café crowd; it’s a Midwestern mix of bikeriders bent on rebellion with a nod to various 40s, 50s and 60s motorcycle subcultures.

MvR Chicago '13

Million Dollar Quartet
That’s a nicely done D.A. right there.

Saturday started off wet, with a steady I’m-here-to-stay kinda rain. We arrived early to check out the new venue; Fletch and Martin of Steel Toe Press were busy setting up cones and barrels and directing their team at various posts. The environment was undeniably better for off-street motorcycle parking and safer perusing than years before. One lot held the bike show and registration tent while an adjacent lot was set up for the outdoor bandstand, stunt show and car show. Vendors and food trucks lined the closed street between the two lots.

MvR Chicago '13

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2013

Motorcycles trickled in as the rain soaked lots of leather. But the skies soon cleared, creating an early-afternoon rush of bikes and scoots. The Spectro Oil Outdoor Rumble Stage filled the neighborhood with music, literally bouncing off buildings and entertaining el-train waiters above. A highlight for us was the authentic sound of the Sun Studios-inspired Million Dollar Quartet. Four guys performing as Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash played a fantastic set of rock n’ roll along with the period-accurate and soothing sound of “Dyanne,” portrayed by singer/actor, Whitney Kraus Jones.

Million Dollar Quartet
Whitney Kraus Jones singing “Fever” as Dyanne with the Million Dollar Quartet.
Million Dollar Quartet
Christopher Damiano plays Johnny Cash in Chicago’s Million Dollar Quartet.

When six o’clock came around, the crowd migrated across Lawrence Ave to the Aragon Theater, where more vendors lined the halls leading up to the big ballroom. Sailor Jerry was set up inside offering free haircuts by Chicago’s own, Mario’s Barbershop. The ornate interior of the Aragon was impressive; mosaics and creative tilework emblazoned the walls, floors and ceilings. A huge double staircase leads you up to the massive wooden floor where the stage is a good walk away. Lee Rocker and the Supersuckers got the joint jumpin’, followed by JD McPherson’s powerful, raw R&B-flavored rock. His “Northside Gal” earned some well-deserved hoots and hollers from the Chicago crowd.

MvR Chicago '13 JD McPherson
People were “scratchin’ circles in the ol’ dance floor” during JD McPherson’s set.
MvR Chicago '13 JD McPherson
JD McPherson’s music is unique, but laced with the soul and growl found in 50s rock and R&B.

We made our way up to the balcony seating to get a birds-eye view of the night’s crescendo, The Reverend Horton Heat. These guys know how to entertain, opening up their set with the fast-paced and mental, “Psychobilly Freakout.” They kept the surf-rockabillly-punk mo’ going full-tilt to the end.

Reverend Horton Heat
Jim Heath, Reverend Horton Heat front man, knows how to keep the energy high and constant for an awesome set.

We’re not sure what’s next for Mods vs Rockers in 2014, but you can bet we’ll keep it tuned to to find out. We’ve been proud sponsors and supporters for years, with much appreciation to the guys at Steel Toe Press for putting on a motorcycle-centric weekend of fun. The event goes well beyond just bikes; it builds upon the nostalgia and culture created by rebellious and blue-collar motorcyclists who used fast motorcycles and rock n’ roll to escape the monotony of the masses. We can get behind that.

Will you be there next year? Well, here are even more pics to tempt you…and there are tons more in our Facebook gallery.

Wilkinson Brothers Ural Motorcycle Sidecar
We grabbed a spot for our Ural Red October and BMW cafe racer on Lawrence Ave.
Cara at Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2013
Kara Pierce rides in on her ’81 Yamaha SR250, the latest Moto-Mucci creation.

BSA at Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2013

Honda CL at Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2013

A coupla Janus models looking shiny and ready to ride.
Triumph Bobber at MvR 2013
British with some American flavah.
Triumph Motorcycles
This year, Triumph was the presenting sponsor of Mods vs Rockers Chicago.
VW at MvR 2013
We couldn’t NOT take a pic of this. What a great set-up.
MvR Chicago '13 Car Show
Detroit steel and heavy chrome. Love to see vintage cars mixed in with the bikes.

MvR Chicago '13

Ernie and Nick at MvR '13
Triumph stunt riders Ernie Vigil and Nick “Apex” Brocha take a break from their shows.
Iron and Air Booth at MvR '13
The Triumph, Dime City Cycles and Iron & Air giveaway bike.
Johnny Scheff Motoworks Chicago
Johnny Scheff of Motoworks Chicago, an MvR O.G.
Million Dollar Quartet
The Million Dollar Quartet rocking out some good ol’ Sun Studios tunes.

MvR Chicago '13 MvR Chicago '13

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2013
A few of the pinup girls await their turn at the mic for introductions.

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2013

MvR Chicago '13

MvR Chicago '13

National Moto Matty
Matty from National Moto+Cycle and his alternative transportation.

MvR Chicago '13

Triumph MotorcyclesMvR Chicago '13

MvR Chicago '13

MvR '13

MvR Chicago '13 Car Show Grant's Ford



Len of Speedcult hailing from Detroit.
An intricate portion of the Aragon Theater’s ceiling.
Aragon Ballroom
Another interior shot of the Aragon’s lobby.

Aragon Ballroom

Aragon Ballroom
Toward the outer edges, swing dancing could be found during the evening’s quality rock n’ roll.

Aragon Ballroom Marquee

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for features on more cool events like this one!

Mods vs Rockers Chicago 2013 Event Video from Good Spark Garage on Vimeo.

This Post Has 7 Comments
  1. I had the usual good time on my “mod”ern motorcycle (Ducati HM796), definitely easier to get around & SO much to see!

  2. Loved the new venue.. everything was SO much better, the entertainment was top notch. Looking forward to next year. Thanks to all who made this event happen. (Great pictures)

  3. Thank you Chicago for being great hosts to a much improved MvR. We kept saying for years that we wished they would close it off to traffic, like Rockerbox Motofest in Milwaukee. That made it a much more relaxed and fun event!!
    You all need to come up to Milwaukee in August, for more vintage bikes, beer, and great food.

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